Red kettles heading out soon in Chatham-Kent

Salvation Army Kettle. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

The Chatham-Kent Salvation Army is gearing up for a busy Christmas season.

Red kettles go out in Chatham on Thursday, November 19, in Blenheim on November 25, and in Wallaceburg on November 26.

“We’re really hoping this year to do well,” said Captain Stephen Holland. “I know we’ve had some restrictions in some stores, we’re not able to be in, so we’re doing our best to raise our funds the best way we can.”

Holland added that they’re already seeing more people reach out for help this year.

“CERB helped a lot of people get through that tough time, and now that that’s stopped, we’ve seen some increases in Wallaceburg and Chatham already, and even in Ridgetown, and Blenheim. There’s more people coming in.”

Hamper registration is open until November 30, but anyone who needs help is encouraged to reach out immediately.

“We’re not giving out food hampers this year, we’re going to give out gift cards,” said Holland.”So I have to order probably $60,000 worth of gift cards to give to people. So we needs to know the numbers as quickly as we can so I can order those things.”

The Salvation Army is still putting together toy hampers, and it is accepting toy donations.

“We do about 800 Christmas hampers at Christmas time, and many of those are families with children, so we do our annual toy drive to help give a toy for children under the Christmas tree. That starts whenever we can get them, now, and we need them in, probably by the first week of December,” Holland said.

Holland added that they especially need toys for older children between the ages of 10 and 12.

They are also trying out new fundraising methods, like a Facebook event called “The 12 Days of Christmas”.

“People can go online, we have an auction for items and they can make a donation. It’s just a way to make it visible for people to see that we need help,” said Holland. “But we have some great guests, some great singers, some dancers, and a lot of acts that will take place. That’s 12 noon, starting November 20.”

Details on how to donate, volunteer, or register can be found on online at www.cksalvationarmy.org.